Don’t Bother Multitasking. You Can’t. Do This Instead.
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Your brain can’t multitask.
You might think you’re getting a whole lot done by having multiple monitors. One screen with your emails and social media. Another one with your work. Your cell phone sitting on the table receiving push messages. Maybe even a tablet for the occasional browsing.
It’s not helping.
The reality is that when we think we’re multitasking it’s just our brain switching between activities very quickly which gives the illusion we’re processing multiple points of information.
By trying to multitask you’re essentially preventing your brain from focusing on one main object at a time which causes distraction and it takes time for your brain to get back into a focused “mode” every time you switch attention. It’s like restarting a race after a few sprints.
What To Do Instead
There’s really just two things that need to be done:
- Realize you can’t multitask
- Set limits on your distractions
Since we’ve covered the first I think you’re wondering how you go about keeping those distractions at a minimum. Well, it’s actually quite easy.
- You don’t need some laundry list of “how to remove distractions”
- You don’t need to feel guilty ignoring people
- You don’t need to feel “left out”
All you really need is to place your trust in a focus boosting application.
These apps are very simple.
FocusBoosterApp and SelfControl are just simple timers which you will use to set a certain amount of time you will devote to work. Stay Focused is an app which lets you block applications which would cause distractions like email, social sites, and others.
So your routine could be this:
- Get to work – go ahead and check your emails for 10 minutes (the important ones)
- Load up FocusBoosterApp and set the timer for 45 minutes – Press Go
- Work as hard (and focused) as you can for those 45 minutes
- Take a 5 – 15 minute break to let your mind relax and get energized
If you combine this form of action with chain productivity (where you set small, achievable goals for each day of the week and attempt to “not break the chain”) then you are bound to get more work done – I guarantee it.
You’ll have effectively cut out the distractions caused from external sources. You’ll have realized you can’t multitask so now you’re focused on the important actions. And you’re using a simple tool to keep you going while knocking down your to-do list.
The facts are all there. You can’t multitask.
At least try this method of work for a few hours today. You might find it to be a revolution for your work flow. It may not be for you. What matters is that you tried and, if anything, found something out about where your time is going so you can be an effective worker.